From education to employment

BrightHR reveal the staff absence trends that swept the UK in 2019. Which names are the most likely to take a sick day?

According to research by @BrightHR_

  • Westminster was the city with the highest staff sickness.
  • The average time staff turned up late to work was 34 minutes.
  • James and Emma were the male and female names most likely to take a sick day.
  • 7th January 2019 was the most popular day to call in sick.
  • There was a regional spike in holiday requests wherever the Spice Girls toured.


Well, 2019 was certainly an eventful year. The year started with the nation going crazy over the launch of a vegan sausage roll and ended with the UK going to the polls for another General Election. During this year, many witnessed possibly the most dramatic cricket match of all time, and thousands attended the most anticipated reunion tour in a decade—the Spice Girls reunion tour.  


But how did these events affect how late and absent UK employees were from their workplaces?


People Management software firm BrightHR has crunched the numbers and found some surprising results. These insights can help businesses get prepared for the year ahead and avoid the feared question – where is everyone?


Alan Price, BrightHR’s CEO and HR expert, comments on the key results:


“This year’s data has given us a real insight into the nation’s absence and lateness habits. One surprising discovery was that the reformation of the Spice Girls shook up holiday bookings. Wherever the Spice Girls toured, we saw a spike in holiday bookings for the day their concert was scheduled. 


“Another unexpected result was that Wednesday, not Monday, was the day where most employees were late to work on—‘hump day’ really does appear to affect some workers. 


“Unsurprisingly, sickness skyrocketed in January. Whether employees were suffering with a winter cold, the January blues, or recovering from a festive period of over indulgence will remain unknown.


“If you have an employee called James or Emma, there’s some bad news—these were the two names that had the most days off sick in 2019.


“Interestingly, the city with the highest number of staff sickness was Westminster. With Westminster dominated by government offices, it is unspecified if this increase in sickness is related to Brexit or the General Election.


“In terms of annual leave, festivals affected holiday bookings. With BrightHR seeing an 18% increase in holiday requests when The Cure headlined Glastonbury weekend.


“To summarise, from BrightHR’s findings we can see that proper people management is essential for a business as it increases productivity and saves you time, money and effort.


“The right HR software can be used as a tool for a better connection between yourself and your employees. It can help create a working environment where staff are highly motivated and where they’re also able to be honest about any time off that they might need.


“Most importantly, it will save you from a flood of paper holiday forms handed in at the start of each year as staff start to plan their activities for the year and will allow you to concentrate on what you do best—running your business.”




Related Articles